Flavor and families

Family-run Capt’n Chucky’s offers fresh, easy-to-prepare seafood in Huntingdon Valley and Blue Bell.                                                                                                                                                                                            
The first thought you might have walking into any Capt’n Chucky’s locations is that something smells fishy, and, for the most part, you would be wrong.

You would, however, be right to say that it smells like unbreaded Smith Island Crab Cakes, made up of about 90 percent jumbo lump, blue crab meat. You would also be right to say that it smells of fresh, wild-caught jumbo shrimp.

These are pleasant scents to the seafood connoisseur, and getting a taste is almost just as easy. The products have never been frozen, and when purchased, they come with simple cooking instructions, like bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees for all crab cakes.

The ease of doing business, mixed with the quality of the food, is what made husband and wife Jason and Bridget Lottier bring a location to Huntingdon Valley. Over the last year, they have operated the storefront in the Justa Farm Shopping Center on County Line Road.

“My brother Michael was a customer at the Blue Bell location and became friendly with the owner,” Jason said. “We liked the business model, the product and decided that we were going to take a shot.”

While the Lottiers were getting their business off the ground, Jason’s brother Michael and his wife Kirsten took over the Blue Bell location on Dekalb Pike, a business that previously existed for about six years. Neither families have a background in seafood, but they had the desire to start a business and become successful.

On top of helping out with the store, Jason is sales manager and bartender and Bridget, who previously worked in healthcare, oversees the day-to-day operations. The couple has two daughters, Brita and Julia, and lives in Northeast Philadelphia.

Still, despite the hectic schedules surrounding work, children and other responsibilities, the store is owner-occupied and one of them is always there.

“We tag team a lot,” Bridget joked.

That’s a major struggle in starting your own business―you always have to be there. Jason said to keep it healthy and get some quality time as a family, the store is closed on Sundays.

The rest of the time, they’re in the store, supplying the area with anything from shrimp and crab platters to soups and chowders. The real centerpiece, though, is the crab cakes. There are six different kinds, each named for a part of Maryland surrounding the Chesapeake Bay, where blue crabs are plentiful. They also keep Stock’s Bakery pound cake in supply, just to give customers an extra taste of Philadelphia.

Even though they’re not chefs, the couple did develop a discerning taste for seafood.

“When we go out, we know the quality of seafood that we sell versus what’s out there,” Jason said. “We’re not snobs, we can just tell the difference.”

It’s important to note that Capt’n Chucky’s is not a sit-in restaurant, but rather more of a seafood market, where all the products are available for purchase, but not to eat there.

“All of our soups, all of our crab cakes, they’re homemade. Nothing is mass-produced. It’s fresh,” Bridget said. “People call and ask, ‘Is this real crab?’ Of course it is. We’re a crab cake store.”

For information or a menu, visit www.captnchuckyshuntingdonvalley.com

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